Marian Del Valle Torres is a twenty-three-year-old Mexican-born actress who currently lives and works in New York City. In June of 2022, Marian expertly portrayed the role of “Mami,” a severely traumatized woman, in Christine Stoddard’s powerful play “Mi Abuela, Queen of Nightmares.” Marian is a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago. While playing Mami was her debut on the New York stage, Marian has experience starring in independent Mexican films such as “El Tesoro Abandonado.” Aside from acting, Marian also hosts a bilingual podcast called “Entre Pláticas” which focuses on mental health, self-development, and self-love. Most recently, Marian starred in “Bodas De Sangre” where she played three roles: Vecina, Criada and Mendiga. It was performed in Spanish at the Gene Frankel in August of 2022
Marian recently discussed her career and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in acting and how did you break into the industry?
Marian Del Valle Torres (MDVT): When I was younger my mom signed me up for dancing and I ended up doing it competitively for a couple of years. I also started taking singing classes and then when I got to high school I auditioned for a role in the musical and fell in love with musicals. And I think that was my first personal introduction to acting. I did my undergrad in Musical Theatre and after I graduated college, I saw an audition notice for “Mi abuela Queen of Nightmares” and submitted my audition. After having a callback and talking with Christine I was fortunate to be cast as Mami and move out here to NYC.
MM: Growing up, what were your biggest artistic influences?
MDVT: I remember that while growing up, my dad loved music, and he would take me and my brothers to different concerts like Mana, Aerosmith, or others. But to be honest I did not grow up in a place where there was a lot of access to the arts. Nevertheless, when I was little, I found comfort in being able to express who I was through dancing and singing.
MM: Do you enjoy working on the stage or screen more? Why?
MDVT: The stage is where my love for the arts started. There is a certain magic inside a theatre that has a story that is being told in actual time and the audience being able to experience it along with you. Nevertheless, I also really like working on screen projects because it is an art that becomes timeless.
MM: What were the biggest culture shocks you experienced when you moved from Mexico to the United States?
MDVT: Where I am from people socialize and build relationship with humor and jokes. So once I got here it was hard to relate to other people and come off in the way that I truly am. I think being able to express my personality in English was one of the most difficult challenges when making connections in the US. I was very scared of being misinterpreted or misperceived.
MM: How does the art and/or theater scene in NYC differ from those in Chicago and Mexico?
MDVT: In my experience NYC is the place where there is more opportunity to work. Mexico has a lot of talented people but there are significantly fewer opportunities to pursue a fulfilling career. I used to dream about coming to NYC and being part of the magic of theatre. And as a Latina it is a privilege and honor to be able to pursue this dream.
MM: How did you meet playwright Christine Stoddard?
MDVT: I submitted an audition for her play “Mi Abuela Queen of Nightmares” through backstage.
MM: In “Mi Abuela, Queen of Nightmares” you played the role of Mami, a severely traumatized woman. How did you prepare for this challenging role?
MDVT: It’s funny. When I first got contacted to do a callback, I was sent the script and originally assumed I was auditioning for the role of Maya, her daughter. I prepared that role and once I started the audition, Christine asked me to start and implied that I was there for the role of Mami and I just went for it. Having Christine, who was the writer and director, was very helpful for understanding Mami’s background and her purpose in the story. I love playing Mami because of the complexity and vulnerability that she carries onstage. She is this beautiful character that embodies all the complexities of being a human being that has gone through trauma and even though she does not have a lot of dialogue her story is told through her movement. The way we hold ourselves say a lot about who we are and where we come from.
MM: Mami didn’t have as many speaking parts as the show’s lead, but her presence and expressions were vitally important to the story. Was it tough to stay in character, even when you essentially had to “act silently” in many scenes?
MDVT: It was a challenge having a character that had to show a lot of who she was without having a lot of dialogue. I think as an actress what I have learned is that the most important tool that we have is our body and everything within our movement can tell so much of who we are, where we come from and how we perceive the world. Doing the role of Mami was an experience that completely took me out of my comfort zone and made me explore and know myself so much more as an artist.
MM: How did you get into podcasting and why did you decide to focus on mental illness as your subject?
MDVT: When I graduated college, I lost someone very close to my life which took me into a state of grief and depression. Shortly after that I was talking to one of my friends about my experience and she said she went through something similar. And then another friend expressed to me that he was also struggling with his mental health. Knowing that everyone was experience something similar and nobody was talking about it made me realize that I wanted to open the door to a conversation and create awareness of our mental health, our self-love and personal development. It may sound weird to say but within my depression I found my purpose. I have always known that my passion is in the theatre and finding my purpose has made me realize that the stories that I want to tell are stories that have purpose and are in service of building a better world. We are now a bilingual podcast because we have realized that there is a lot of people with the same reality as us. We use both languages in our daily life and we want to normalize that. Our podcast is called “Entre Pláticas”, which means “Between Talks”. We release one episode per week and it is alternating between Spanish and English. You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcast.
MM: What’s the best fan feedback you’ve gotten about your acting and/or podcast?
MDVT: ACTING: Acting is not imitating, acting is experiencing. PODCASTING: You can’t control how other people perceive you, you can only control what you say.
MM: What’s the best thing about working as a professional entertainer?
MDVT: Getting to create and express myself through my work. It is a privilege that I am grateful for every day. Being able connect with people is one of the most beautiful feelings I have ever felt.
MM: How do you hope your career evolves over the next five years?
MDVT: There is nothing set in stone yet. But I am taking classes, auditioning and preparing myself for when that opportunity comes knocking at my door, I am ready to take it. I want to grow the podcast and tell stories that catapult change.
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
MDVT: I trust that the universe has in store all the opportunities that I am working for to be able to create a platform that connects with more people than I am now. I see my dreams with hope, I take every day with gratitude and I work for a fulfilling future.
To learn more about Marian, visit her official website mariandelvalle.com or find her on Instagram as @mariandelvallet